More brands are investing in experiential and event marketing than ever before. One in three CMOs said experiential marketing would account for 20-50% of their future marketing budgets. That’s because experiential marketing helps brands promote their story or product and build lasting connections with their consumers.
But when it comes to creating show-stopping experiences or trending branded events, you might not know where to start. That’s where hiring a brand experience agency comes in. From design strategy to fabrication, they can help produce unique and engaging experiences that you can’t get anywhere else.
Before you reach out to an event marketing agency, it’s important to know what you can expect when engaging with them so that you’re fully prepared to make the most of your time together. Here we’ve outlined the key steps that should be included, based on our tried-and-true processes, to ensure your next live experience comes to life just how you imagined it would.
Address Your Goals
When you first meet with your chosen agency, it’s essential that you communicate your goals. Knowing your target audience and what you want them to take away will help your agency create an engaging experience that draws the right people to your event. Whether you want to attract qualified leads or expose yourself as a key industry player, relaying your goals will help everyone stay on track.
Make sure you don’t sacrifice these goals for creative that doesn’t serve a valuable purpose. Your agency should be flexible and adaptable, considering your wishes but using their expertise to enhance your brand message and achieve desired results.
One of the most important objectives you should remain steadfast on is your budget. Targeting the right people with an authentic experience is far more valuable than wasting your budget on all the bells and whistles. Work with your agency to strategize how you can achieve results within your means, this way there are no surprises when all is said and done.
Be Willing to Listen
While yes, it is important to remain firm on your goals, it’s also necessary to trust your event marketing agency. While you may be an expert in your industry, they are – hopefully- an expert in designing and executing live branded events and exhibits. Twenty-nine percent of companies who run experiential campaigns report 10-1 returns on investment, which means their marketing teams know what they’re doing. With that in mind, you will see greater success if you to listen to their suggestions.
If you’re gung-ho about not using social media in your event marketing, your agency will probably try and convince you otherwise. Hear them out. They can provide you with concrete examples of how merging in-person experiences with the digital world can help you connect with more people.
Don’t want to incorporate virtual reality at your next live event? See how it has helped other companies like yours before you completely write it off. Your marketing agency is here to do everything in their power to help you achieve your goals. They are full of innovative ideas that you may have never considered before, and those ideas can be the key factor in how well you engage your audience.
Develop a Creative Strategy…Together
Your overall vision is key to creating a successful event marketing strategy. If your experiential agency isn’t involving you in the creative process, they aren’t the agency that can provide you with what you need. It is crucial that you remain involved throughout.
You know your brand and industry better than anyone else, even your agency. While a strong agency should be well-researched in your field to get a better sense of promotions and trends, you need to work with them to elevate your brand and event in an engaging way.
Partner with event marketers to create material that reflects a cohesive message. Discuss design ideas for your event collateral, like video endorsements or social media initiatives. If you’re hosting an event, identify industry influencers that you would like to attend; your agency will create the overall agenda – from presentations to motivational speakers -so let them know potential players that can positively represent your event.
Review, Review, Review
While addressing your goals upfront is the first step in working with an agency, it’s important to make sure that everyone is still on track throughout the entire process. Once your marketing agency has developed creative, whether that be a 3D design or an experiential concept, it’s essential that you review, provide input, and ultimately sign off on it.
They should provide you with outlines or renderings to help convey how everything will come together. Once you give them the go-ahead on finalized designs, they can begin producing what you’ll need for the event.
Evaluate Your Campaign
During the event, pay attention to your audience’s reaction; whether you’re following them on social media or conducting attendee surveys, this will help you measure the event’s success.
After your event goes live, you should consider what parts of your marketing strategy were successful and what parts you need to improve on for next time. Ultimately, you want to know that your time, energy, and money were well spent. Review the data you collected at your event and see if it matches up with your initial goals; whether you wanted to raise brand awareness, increase your social media following, or gain new leads, it’s important to measure your success. And don’t forget to reach out to your new contacts to gauge how they felt about the overall event. You can do this through follow up emails and post-event surveys.
Your event marketers should be conducting a similar review as well. Before you move onto your next campaign, meet with them to compare notes and share your thoughts. Now that you have worked together, establishing this evaluation process will be helpful if you choose to partner again in the future.
Do you need help planning your next event? Let’s talk. In the meantime, see how we’ve helped leading brands build successful campaigns.